Availability of land, water impeding UMPP projects

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New Delhi, Feb 8 (UNI) Availability of land and water is proving to be a major hurdle as the Government looks to expedite the country's Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) to speed up power capacity addition through private developers.

''We already have the experience when it comes to UMPPs.

We have experience in the bidding process and already have checks and balances in place. We can expedite the entire process of awarding the UMPPs,'' Power Secretary Anil Razdan said.

He, however, said the biggest impediment to awarding the projects was the availability of land and water.

''Identifying land and water is proving to be a problem,'' Mr Razdan said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had recently expressed concern over the delays in implementing power reforms, awarding mega transmission projects and commissioning of UMPPs and continued shortfall.

Dr Singh had said things have to move fast to achieve the targets in the 11th Plan period. He warned that 'poor progress' in the power sector could have an adverse impact on economic growth.

''Land is a state subject and the progress of this project is dependant on the co-operation of the states in making land and water available. We want to mitigate some of the risk the developers may face,'' said Mr Razdan.

The government's high-level selection committee meeting has cleared 11 bidders for the second stage of competitive bidding for the upcoming 4,000 MW Tilaiya ultra mega power project, or UMPP, estimated to require an investment of Rs 16,000 crore Tilaiya is one of three projects being bid out. The others yet to be awarded are Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu and Jharsuguda in Orissa.

The government's UMPP programme has had its fair share of problems. Of the 11 proposed projects, six are on track. The Centre is expected to abandon plans to set up UMPPs at Girye in Maharashtra, Tadri in Karnataka and Akaltara in Chhattisgarh for reasons ranging from environmental concerns to differences with the state governments.

The Tilaiya project, too, has faced hurdles with land acquisition for the project an issue, especially since it will lead to displacement of tribals.

Three UMPPs are with one each in Krishnapatnam, Sasan and Mundra under different stages of construction.

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